Tuesday 29 May 2018

Winter in the Cotswolds: Broadway Tower

Winter in the Cotswolds: Broadway Tower

With the recent (and much welcomed) heatwave that warmed the countryside and people of the UK, Winter feels like a millennia ago. I know it didn't feel that way at the time, especially when the snow kept on falling, but the truth of the matter is that only 2 short months ago, there was still snow on the ground. 

For the first time in a long time, we had a winter to remember, and Leo got his first real play in the snow. His little face as those first flurries of snow started to fall from the sky was a picture, and then when it settled on the ground and he realised that we could go outside to build snowmen and make snowballs, it was as though all of his Christmas's had come at once.

Winter in the Cotswolds: Broadway Tower

We live on the outskirts of the Cotswolds, a place that everyone seems to know, and just down the road from us we have the beautiful village of Broadway, and the equally stunning Broadway Tower. I have seen Broadway Tower in many weathers, but never in the snow. With a fresh blanket of snow upon the ground, the family and I decided to take a slow and steady drive up Fish Hill to see what we would find at the top.

We put on our Winter's finest and stepped out into the sub degree temperatures. I was sent a really nice Winter's coat from Simply Be on the run up to Christmas - The Tog 24 York Womens Tcz Thermal Jacket, and this little family outing seemed like a great time to take some nice family shots for this here blog post. 

Even up at the top of Fish Hill on that cold snowy afternoon, I didn't really feel the cold. I was warm and taking in the frosty landscape around me. My red coat has done me proud during the harsh coldness we have experienced over the last few months, and I have been wearing it right up to early Spring as the weather has been so intermittent (One of the amazing things about the British weather is, you really do not know what card you are going to be dealt).

Winter in the Cotswolds: Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower is one of those places that is a honey pot for tourists, and in the many times I have visited this unique folly tower, this visit alone was the only time I had seen it so quiet. On this day there were only a handful of people roaming around, and it was on this day that the little tower looked it's absolute best. The view points across the 16 counties (a 62 mile radius!) that can be seen from atop the hill looked like a scene out of Narnia. You could almost be forgiven for taking a second glance looking for the snow queen herself. 

For years I couldn't get my head around why people from all over the world would travel so far to see Broadway and the surrounding villages within the Cotswolds. You really can live somewhere and not really see a place, it wasn't until I flew out to New York the other year and marvelled at how big that city really was, that I really grasped the reason as to why people were as captivated by my little corner of the globe as they are. Because upon my return from the concrete jungle, I too marvelled at how much greenery we have, our little oldie worldie landmarks and our cobbled streets, the big unspoilt open spaces that are drapsed in history and wonder.

Winter in the Cotswolds: Broadway Tower

I think as you get older, your understanding and perceptions do change. You start to see things for the first time, things that have been there all along, things that you took for granted. We have definitely been getting outside more since we added Lux (the family dog) to the fold, and that has meant that we have seen so much more of our local area which cannot be a bad thing. 

What I didn't know until fairly recently is that Broadway Tower has a bunker from the cold war, it was used to monitor and operated by men and women of the Royal Observer Corps. These select few would spend 3 weeks below the surface during a nuclear exchange. During this time they would study and share their findings on the effects of nuclear explosions and the aftermath. 

My other half Luke has talked about this bunker for as long as I can remember.... But for a long time i thought that it was just one of his tall stories. As it happens, there is is a bunker close to Broadway Tower!

Winter in the Cotswolds: Broadway Tower

Now the weather has warmed up, I might just have to venture back with my adventurous Leo and see what we can find down there.

Sunday 27 May 2018

A little Update...

Dalmatian Dog

It feels so good to be back, and by back I mean to sit down at the computer and start putting my thoughts back down into my little corner of the internet. I know I have been so quiet around these parts, but it really has been for a good reason (well that and because I got especially lazy!).

Where do I start?

Last October I hung up my self employment hat and took on a part time position at a local company, and I think it could be the best thing I have done. I am lucky enough to work within a great team, and there isn't a day they don't cease to make me chuckle. It all works around Leo and Lux perfectly, being a local company, I can drop Leo at school in the morning, and get to work by 9am. Finishing at 2pm, I can get home to walk the dog and then pick Leo up at the end of the school day.

I didn't realise how much I had missed actually going out to work, I think that we all need that adult conversation during the day, and at home it was just me and the dog. My aim after becoming employed again was to take my blog right back to the roots, but seemingly I got lazy and I didn't have the motivation to turn the computer on at the end of the working day. I opted to get my workout in (I am primarily working out entirely from home again these days!), and then fall in front of Netflix for the rest of the evening.

Rape Flowers
It's now May and the tumbleweeds have been blowing around for way to long, I am ready to re-claim my space and start over sharing again! Moving forward you can expect family updates and reviews, I want to keep it all authentic and true to us. I have started a bit of a post 'tidy up', and will be removing anything that I don't feel is relevant to us, and at some point I want to spring clean my older posts and have them made into a book for Leo. 

Ultimately this blog was made to capture our memories, and somewhere along the way I feel like I lost my way on that front. Things got a little jaded, and I personally believe that is because it really did become my job. I sold out, I lost focus and in turn I lost my way. Now I have taken a step back, re-evaluated what's important and taken a very long break from the blogging community (and boy has a lot changed in my absence!), I am back and ready to start a fresh.

Leo is turning 7 next month, yup SEVERN! It seems so crazy that my little blog baby is as grown up as he is now. He's still the ultimate Mummy's boy though which I love. I know that in a few short years he will be taller than me, and he is already well on the way.

Dalmatian Dog

Lux otherwise known as the spotty one is still causing trouble on a daily basis, but he really is part of our crazy little family unit, and no amount of floor munching or targeted poop humiliation could change that! Thankfully he does have one good trait, and he is a pro spider catcher (it does help us overlook his less desirable traits!).

Dalmatian and children

Right now we are preparing for a busy couple of months, starting with June. We are all off to see Ed Sheeran in concert next month (This will be Leo's very first concert, and my Second!), then Lux turns 2, Leo turns 7 and there is even talk of a big family holiday to Rhodes (which means Lux is off to boarding for a week!).

This means I will have lots to share with you. Last year when we left Lux.... The boarder couldn't wait to give him back. So we may need some happy well wishing thoughts sent our way, because I think before long we will have exhausted all board options in our local area...

Finally we have enlisted a one to one dog trainer to help us perfect our spotty beast, here's hoping that he comes on in leaps and bounds!

Dalmatian and children

Thursday 24 May 2018

Gazillion Bubble Fun

Giant Gazillion Bubble Wand

It's been a while since I have sat down and put hand to keyboard, and that is why things have been so quiet around here, but that is for another post... (One that I will write sooner rather than later, I can't believe that it is now May and I am only just checking back in after Christmas!).

May has seen some absolutely beautiful weather, and it has given the entire family cause to get outside and have fun in the sun. Last weekend we stoked up the BBQ, and set up residence under the great British sunshine. When I say we, I mean the entire extended family, Leo, my Mum, Dad, Brothers and Sister. We have all rallied around a lot recently since my Mum fell and broke her hip a few months back, so this weather for all of us has been just what the doctor ordered.

My parents have a large garden, a garden that Leo has grown up playing in an now our spotty dog Lux loves nothing more than burning off his disposable energy zooming around, only on this occasion we had an extra special treat for him...

Dalmatian and bubbles

Summer and bubbles go hand in hand, so it seemed like the absolutely perfect day to have some fun with Gazillion Bubbles! 

Now it's up to you to decide whether they were more for Leo or the pup? But both had equally as much fun chasing the bubbles as they floated away into the crystal blue skies above, it quickly became a game for both Leo and Lux to attempt being the one to burst the bubble... This shot I accidently captured really does sum up the action packed afternoon that they both enjoyed, and it has quickly become one of my favourite action shots. Just know if I had set out to get this shot, I never would have managed it!

Giant Gazillion Bubble Wand

One second either side of pressing that camera button could have resulted in a very different snap, but by complete accident, I caught the absolute best moment ever. Lux is leaping up to pop the gigantic bubble that has almost ballooned out into a tunnel in front of Leo, and out of the depths lunges Lux, who coincidentally we often refer to as a shark!

We had a play with the Giant Gazillion Bubble Wand, this one was my personal favourite, it was a little tricky at first to get the hang of, but we had some pretty epic bubbles coming out as soon as we got the hang of it! There was a slight breeze and I found that we just needed to slowly lift the wand out of the bubble solution and then let the breeze do the rest.

Gazillion Bubbles Tornado Machine

The Gazillion Bubbles Tornado Machine was the biggest hit with the 6 year old and the pup, the constant stream of bubbles kept them both entertained throughout the BBQ and well into the evening. 

I live for the weekends that we can enjoy the garden and lap up the warmer weather, more so than ever since we got Lux almost 2 years ago. You never really know what he will get up to, so it's good to make sure that I am on hand ready to retrieve whatever he steals next... But what I have realised in recent weeks is that when the entire family is outside, he is so content with just having everyone around him, that he will actually relax (Well.. Until the BBQ goes on and the food comes out of course!).

Gazillion Bubbles Tornado Machine

Let's just hope that we can expect more of the same over the long Bank Holiday weekend that kicks off on Friday, I could do with some more family time in the great outdoors.

On another note, it feels so good to be back to blogging!

Until next time!

Tuesday 1 May 2018

5 Reasons It’s Great to Involve the Kids in Fruit and Veg Growing

5 Reasons It’s Great to Involve the Kids in Fruit and Veg Growing

It probably goes without saying that the great outdoors offers us plenty of benefits, from breathing in fresh air to getting some much-needed exercise. But did you know there are also some developmental benefits to getting the kids involved in gardening?

Here are five reasons why you might want to get the kids growing their own produce, even in

1. It Enhances Their Senses 
Your kids’ senses are incredibly sensitive, which is why this is one of the best ways for them to learn. For example, when they’re knee deep in dirt they can touch the vegetables, seeds and soil; they can smell the fruits of their labour and they can see all of the different shapes, sizes and textures of the veg. 

By making sure their senses are engaged, this helps you ensure your children know what gardening entails while also enabling them to understand the science and maths that go into it. 

2. It Encourages Them to Eat Healthily 
There’s nothing quite like tasting food you’ve gone to the effort of growing yourself, and that’s exactly what your children (and you!) can do when you have your own veggie patch. Having them grow a number of different healthy foods will make them keen to taste what they’ve planted themselves. This not only encourages them to eat those greens but it also adds to their eagerness to grow new things to see what unique flavours these have too. 

3. It Allows Them to Explore Scientific Concepts 
Gardening’s fun, which is why it’s an interactive way of introducing kids to biology, chemistry and botany. Once they’ve planted their seeds they’ll be intrigued as to what will happen next, then they’ll monitor how these things change and develop, and these processes give them an understanding of a number of scientific concepts. Equally, by getting specialist equipment from places like Premier Polytunnels, you’ll be able to show them how different things can influence how their plants grow. 

4. It Adds to Their Fine Motor Development 
From picking out seeds to digging up dirt and pouring water on plants, there’s plenty of fine motor control needed in gardening. Therefore, as your children get to grips with the garden, they’ll develop these crucial skills, which will ultimately enhance their schooling, including cutting, typing and writing.

5. It Provides You with Important Family Time 
Finally, when you and the kids team up to grow things in the garden, it provides you with plenty of heart-warming family time. As you grow things, you and the kids will get a great sense of achievement, and it also provides you with the perfect opportunity to try new recipes using the fresh ingredients you’ve produced. 

Gardening needn’t take up a lot of space, time or money but, as you can see, it’s got so much to
offer you and your children.